Blogging Strategies 101

Imagine this scenario. You’ve just came across an amazing website which offers a lucrative affiliate program. You signed up instantly as an affiliate and are itching to promote your referral link to as many people you know.
You hook up a new thread in a forum and insert your referral link after a short pitch, perhaps you’ll also leave a few comments on a few blogs with the referral link as the URL or signature.
http://www.jmorganmarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/6a00d8345233a569e200e54f6f82da8833-800wi.jpgYou might even publish a short blog post which consists of nothing but a short opener, an excerpt from the website in question and your big fat affiliate referral link.
You sit back and eagerly check your referral stats. How many people signed up? How much am I earning? You set plans for tommorrow: maybe send some emails to people you know and create a banner or button for your blog. You probably think you’ve done a good job and are guaranteed a cashcow that will give you recurring earnings. Right?
Wrong. Promoting your affiliate link goes beyond the above steps, which are really promotional spurts directed at short-term gains. If the affiliate program offers recurring commission earnings, creating a focused, long term promotional strategy is of vital importance.

Six Key Strategies to Boost your Affiliate Referrals
Here are a collection of six points which anyone can use to increase their number of referrals for any affiliate program or website. These points apply across various industries and emphasize on long-term over short-term referral gains.
Note that they mainly apply to blogs, though they could easily be applied to other general websites.

1. Early Search Result Listings are Essential – Get Ranked Fast.
Being one of the first few people to write about a specific website or affiliate scheme will allow you to easily get ranked within the top 10 for most search engines. This is because there is very little competition for the specific term or keyphrase.
Another benefit of getting listed early is that people will usually do a search for a specific website because they need more details about it. You should aim to fill that information need because they’ll very likely sign up through your link if there are no other or very little sources available.
I’ve gotten over 1,000 Agloco referrals just because I’ve written a review of Agloco when it was just released a few months back.
I’ve not even bothered to update the review with fresh information and I’ve done absolutely nothing to increase my referrals. No forum spamming, no blog post pitches, no PPC campaigns, no email marketing, no article submissions. Nada. Nothing.
This was largely because I was ranked number one on Google for ‘Agloco Review‘ for some time. In fact, my post is still listed in the Top 5 results at the moment. This has allowed me to receive consistent search traffic everyday for several months.
Dosh Dosh also has strong result rankings for dozens of unique keywords, which ensures that I continue to make money through affiliate recommendations, even though my blog is completely free of contextual or banner ads.

2. Project Authenticity, Personality and Objectivity through Your Blog
Visitors who arrive your blog looking for specific information do not need another sales pitch. They’ve very likely been pre-sold, meaning that they’ve been persuaded to some extent by the website or business in question.
What they want is personal recommendations. Strive for objectivity and honesty when you are writing your review about the specific product. This means giving both good and bad points about a specific product.
Your review will be even better if you can include your personal experiences with the product in question. My Gangster Greed review is a good example of how I try to inculcate all these points.

3. Strive for Content Depth, Breadth and Uniqueness
Always try to surpass the other blogger that writes about the same topic by coming up with a review of far greater depth and detail. Explore questions which have not been addressed and link to sources which the other bloggers have missed.
Being unique and meticulous makes you a reference point and authority on the topic. This builds incoming links which will eventually help you rank well in the long run.
An example of this is my post on Adsense Wordpress Themes. The amount of material covered and the uniqueness of it (no one has ever done it before) has led a very large number of natural incoming links over time and has allowed me to consistently rank in the top five for several keywords.
Put yourself in the potential linker’s shoe. Would you rather send your reader to a short blog post with only 100 words on a product/website or you prefer to send them to a well-written 1000 word article which thoroughly examines the subject in question?

4. Optimize your Blog Post for Search Traffic
Writing with search engines in mind can make the whole article feel stunted and so I’ve never emphasized on stuffing keywords or phrases in specific sections of content. Don’t do it. It’s a waste of time and may degrade the overall quality of your post.
Demonstrating a personality that others can relate too is far more important when you are planning to increase affiliate referrals.
The only place where its absolutely essential to include your keyword or phrase is within the title of your blog post. Adjusting your post-slug and permalink to include the keyword structure is also helpful and can help to reduce the length of the URL as a whole.
However, pleasing the reader or potential referral is of utmost importance. Always try to target niche phrases that fit nicely within your article and if you really want to, buy or get others to include keyword links to your article.

5. Use Trackbacks Effectively to Generate Exposure
Don’t just come across a specific item and write about it as if you were the one discovering it. By referencing the original news breaker, a relevant link to your post will be listed beneath their original article in the form of a trackback.
This is a great way to get very targeted traffic because readers might need more information on the specific website/program. If your article is good enough, the blogger in question might even update the original post and include a link to it.
The trick to trackbacking is to reference as many relevant and high traffic blogs as possible. To keep on top of popular news from other high profile blogs, I suggest using content aggregators or meme trackers which allow you easily reference several blogs at once.

6. Leech Traffic from Relevant Blogs
This is a method that I have used for a while. Say you’ve just written a great article on a specific website or program and included your affiliate links. The next step is to promote your article through relevant niche blogs.
How do you do this? Use Google Alerts to set up notifications when bloggers write a post about the specific topic in question. This sends an automated email to your inbox every day or once a week.
You can then visit specific blogs and leave a relevant comment while discreetly mentioning your review. This is a great way to acquire potential referrals who are commitment-phobic and need more information.
Depending on the traffic level for each blog, you’ll tend to get a few visitors who will be interested enough to visit your website. Just remember to deeplink to the specific post and not your blog homepage.
This method also has the benefit of allowing you to easily stay in touch with the latest news concerning the specific program, which allows you to update your blog or website accordingly.
Another way to do this is to hang out at social websites like Digg or Reddit and visit blogs that are very likely to hit the homepage. Leaving an interesting comment will induce visitors to your blog. This is far less targeted than using Google Alerts but can lead to greater traffic flow.

Key Point Summary – A Checklist to Follow
  • Write a blog post after you sign up for an affiliate program. Pick keywords or keyphrases that are likely to receive more search volume.
  • Check if you are making a personal recommendation and come across as authentic/objective.
  • Is your review detailed and unique enough? Does it cover new ground or offer new perspectives?
  • Optimize your Blog post. Are the keywords in the title?
  • Remember to use references and send trackbacks.
  • Keep track of articles from other bloggers on the same topic. Have you set up a Google Alert or found a way to keep up with news on a specific topic? 
Courtesy: Dosh Dosh

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